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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Minutes and address of the State Convention of the Colored Citizens of Ohio, convened at Columbus, January 10th, 11th, 12th, & 13th, 1849.
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President decided it against us, and the illegitimate word "white" became a part of the Ohio State Constitution. We are thus by this one word, strange and inconsistent as it may seem, deprived of all the blessings which flow out from the "free consent of the governed." But,
2d. We are taxed, while we are unrepresented. You hire your Governor, Secretaries, Auditor and Treasurer, 108 Members of the General Assembly, together with the officers attached, and you filch our property to help pay them. You have built Asylums for the Blind, for the Deaf and Dumb, and for the Lunatic, together with Houses for the Poor, and you not only demand that we should help sustain them, equally with you, but deny us the benefits of them. Only last year Governor Bebb endeavored to place a colored child in the Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb, and the child was refused. Until within a short time, colored persons have not been permitted to enter the Lunatic Asylum, even as visitors, and yet colored persons are taxed for its support. We say then, these things are violations of the fundamental principles you yourselves, of your own accord, have laid down. Ohio law ought in this respect then to be a nullity.
Fellow Citizens--The 5th clause of 1st section of Article 2d, of the United States Constitution, recognizes the principle that natural birth gives citizenship. Article 4th, section 2d, and 1st clause, claims that the citizens of the each State, shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens of the several States; and the Ohio Bill of Rights, Article 8th, of the Ohio State Constitution, Section 1st, declares, that all men are born equally free and independent, and have certain, natural, inherent, and inalienable rights, among which are the enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety: therefore we claim that the colored citizens in the State of Ohio have rights equal with the rest of her citizens. And we claim in addition that he who solemnly swears to support her Bill of Rights--swears to give to "all men," irrespective of any accidental distinction, "the certain natural, inherent and inalienable rights" therein specified.
Article 8th, Section 7th, Ohio State Constitution, announces--That all courts shall be open, and every person; for any injury done him in his lands, goods, person or reputation, shall have remedy, by the due course of law, and right and justice administered without denial or delay. We hold that the "testimony law," so called, is of this part of the Constitution, if of no other, a direct and shameful violation.
Article 4th, Section 1st, Articles of the Confederation, provides that "the better to secure and perpetuate mutual friendship and intercourse among the people of the different States in this Union, the free inhabitants of each of these States, paupers, vagabonds, and fugitives from justice excepted, shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of free citizens in the several States; and the people of each State shall have free ingress and regress, to and from any other State, and shall enjoy therein all the privileges of trade and commerce, subject to the same duties, impositions and restrictions, as the inhabitants thereof respectively.
Says the law of Ohio, "No negro or mulatto person shall be permitted emigrate into and settle within this State, unless such negro or mulatto persons shall, within twenty days thereafter, enter into bond with two or freehold sureties, in the penal sum of five hundred dollars, before the clerk of the court of common pleas of the county in which such negro or mulatto may wish to reside, (to be approved by the clerk,) conditioned for the good behavior of such negro or mulatto, and moreover, to pay for the support such person, in case he, she, or they should thereafter be found within township in this State, unable to support themselves. And if any negro or mulatto person shall migrate into this state, and not comply with the provisions of this act, it shall be the duty of the overseers of the poor of the township where such negro or mulatto person may be found, to remove immediately such black or mulatto person, in the manner as required in the case of paupers."
We are neither "paupers, vagabonds, or fugitives from justice," therefore we hold this enactment to be in direct opposition to the spirit and principles of the Articles of Confederation of the thirty States of this Union.
Article 8, Section 25, State Constitution, says, that "no law shall be passed to prevent the poor in the several counties and townships within this
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